Reviews: Embroidered Neoprene Shift, Apogeo Column Dress, Isabel Dress, Painted Plaid Dress

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hunting for the Painted Plaid Dress ($158) and finding success!

These days my stops to Anthro stores are fewer and further between...and when I do make it to the store I do a lot of walking around and not a lot of trying on. Recently I grabbed a few dresses that piqued my interest. How did they work out? Find out inside...

Embroidered Neoprene Shift ($288) by Maeve, TTS
Style #: 4130341981125; light grey (006)

Note: My sizing is currently floating -- I started a new muscle-toning exercise regimen in June! For reference I am currently sitting at 34-29-38, size 6/M in sweaters, 6 in dresses and 29 in pants, 34D. I am 5'8".

It is time for me to rethink neoprene. When I saw the material in the Embroidered Neoprene Shift ($288)'s name, I figured it would mean slippery, plastic-y and not to fun to wear. In reality the dress feels more or less like cotton. Likewise the embroidery is tactile and feels like thread. Not that I was expecting a wetsuit exactly...just something a little less pleasant. Happily surprised by how nice the dress feels! Inside it's got a slippery blue nylon spandex lining, the color of which would make its own lovely dress.

An SA advised me that this dress starts off tight and loosens out over the course of the day. So above you see me in my usual size 6, which was certainly hugging me everywhere but knowing that it'd loosen I'd say this is the right size to buy. I love the embroidery which frames feminine curves beautifully and the length is pretty good, hitting about 1.5 inches above my knees. This dress is easily work-appropriate and can by layered with a cardigan, sweater or whatever your heart may desire. The armholes are not too big (always a concern for work dresses) and the waistline is well-defined.

This dress is really lovely and I was glad to see it in-store. More like this please Anthro! Wishlisted.

Apogeo Column Dress ($178) by Bailey 44, TTS
Style #: 4130211620801; moss (030, shown on me) or black (001)

Bailey44 has lost its way with me over the last year or so. Three or four years ago you could count on all their dresses to be cotton jersey, have some structure even with their knit configuration and to last for year. But in the last several months everything has gone to hell. They've been using rayon or rayon jersey for the last couple of years...the dresses this year don't have as much structure to them and tend to loosen up by a size or more as you wear them...they stain easily and the stains don't come out....the dresses just don't last.

So I didn't really have high hopes for the Apogeo Column Dress ($178). First thing to note is that this dress is longer than it looks on me. I got so fed up in the fitting room trying to get the bottom of the skirt out from under the lining that I waved the white flag. So this dress actually hits right above the knee, not mid-thigh as it seems here. Good luck getting all the skirt out however! I do like the knotted neckline, the ruching and this moss color. I do not like the sleeves which cut across my arms at a weird angle.

This dress is getting rave reviews online...but not by me. Although the dress seems to cut inwards nicely at the waist on the models on Anthro's site, I felt it made me look wider. Which is quite impressive considering my hourglass figure, and I don't mean that in a good way. Nordstrom's product shot is somewhat more accurate. I'm in my usual size medium and I did try on a large to see if my opinion changed at did not and the large was schlumpy on. This dress seems true to size.

Mostly though, the fabric is awful. Thin, looks somewhat faded already, looks like it will pill. Not what I want to spend $180 on. Back to the rack.

Isabel Dress ($128) by Saturday/Sunday, TTS
Style #: 4130339189090; black and white (shown on me, 018) or neutral motif (015)

I think I might have had better luck with the striped version of the Isabel Dress ($128). I like the midweight, soft cotton-poly material. It's pretty short, hitting a few inches above my knees. There's a gentle scoopneck and a cute bow on the left side. The sleeves are well-done and I like how the skirt falls straight.

I tried on my usual medium which felt loose in the fitting rooms. I see here that my tummy is totally peeking out! Could it be because I'd just eaten lunch? I'm not sure. Either way the pattern isn't doing me many favors. I like the overall cut of the dress but wish it had been a couple of inches longer.

I'm ambivalent on this one. Would like to go back to the store and see if they have the striped version. For now, this one will get reconsidered at sale time.

Painted Plaid Dress ($158) by Corey Lynn Calter, TTS
Style #: 4130024097762; black motif (009)

I love everything about the Painted Plaid Dress ($158), except that the bodice portion isn't cut for larger chests. Instead of the waist hitting at my waist the dress becomes empire when working to fit over my 34D cups. And I have a short waist! Still, everything else about this dress is exactly what I'd hoped. Love the pattern, love the skirt, love the length.

The dress is rayon-poly that feels like silk. It's thin, glides through the fingers and has no heft. The sleeves cut across the chest which can be a good thing or a bad thing -- personally I would have loved waist-length sleeves that could be pushed up. These aren't bad though. I do enjoy the different lengths of each skirt panel and I think the pattern works very well to look distorted but not messy.

I tried on my usual size 6 which felt comfortable on. If your chest is larger you may need to size up. This dress would be fine for me as a work dress though I'm not as sure for conservative offices. I also envision wearing a long, cabled burgundy sweater over it in the winter...with boots though not the fringed ones Anthro chose for its product page.

All in all, this dress is a winner for me! In my cart.